Charge the recent attackers of gay men with federal hate crimes

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Last Thursday, two gay men, ages 27 and 28, were brutally gay-bashed allegedly by a group of young people who were dining earlier that evening at La Viola. Today, Philadelphia Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office asking the Department of Justice to partner with the city’s D.A. and police to investigate. Kenney asked in his letter that authorities bring federal charges, under the Federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (more…)

PhillyGayNews: Marriage equality is spreading like wildfire

 

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Proponents of marriage equality have been kicking butt and taking names over the last year-and-a-half! These victories leave us with 19 states plus Washington, D.C., where LGBTQ individuals have the freedom to marry. In an additional 14 states, judges have issued rulings in favor of the freedom to marry, with many of these rulings now stayed as they proceed to appellate courts.

Three states offer broad protections short of marriage: Colorado allows civil union; and Nevada offers broad domestic partnership and Wisconsin has more limited domestic-partnership laws. (more…)

Trans*itioning the gay-rights movement

TransWe just marked the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the modern gay-rights movement, with Pride events in New York City and San Francisco. The events featured transgender celebrities Laverne Cox and Janet Mock as grand marshals; the symbolic inclusion was an attempt by Pride organizers to signal trans-inclusion.  (more…)

PGN- the “Great Diaper Debate” and what a local resident is doing to move it forward

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Here’s a question most of us haven’t pondered before: What’s a dad to do if he’s out and about with his baby who needs a new diaper and there’s no changing table in the men’s restroom? As the dynamics of the “modern family” (and no, I don’t mean families with iPhones!) evolve, lawmakers are considering two bills with similar intentions mandating businesses to grant men equal access to changing tables.  (more…)

The future of marriage equality cases in the United States

We have entered a new era. Every single state with a ban against same-sex marriage has a lawsuit in place — now that the nation’s last unchallenged state, North Dakota, has lost that status. A lawsuit was filed last week to challenge that state’s bans, along with ones in Montana and South Dakota. While we in Pennsylvania are celebrating our hard-earned victory for marriage equality, the battle is just beginning in these and other states. But, these state-by-state battles are securing that an inevitable Supreme Court ruling will be in our favor.

The same-sex marriage movement has enjoyed a streak of more than a dozen victories in federal courts since Windsor v. United States. In six states we’ve had clean wins: New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Federal judges have invalidated bans in six other states — Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan and Idaho — but those decisions have been stayed pending appeals. Lastly, in Arkansas, a state judge struck down that state’s ban; the ruling has been stayed and is under appeal. Regardless of the process, since Windsor, no state ban against same-sex marriage has survived a court challenge and the last two cases, in Oregon and Pennsylvania, were delivered with governing officials in both states saying they would not appeal. Same-sex couples are now allowed to legally marry in 19 states, and more than two in five Americans live in such states.

Let the gay wedding bells ring

Independence Day has come early in Pennsylvania! LGBTQ individuals are no longer second-class citizens in Pennsylvania and will be legally recognized as wholly legitimate and equal citizens; same-sex marriage is legal in the commonwealth! Judge John E. Jones III declared yesterday that Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, ruling in Read more…

Giving a voice to our ‘Gen-Silent’ LGBT seniors

Respect your elders. It’s one of the early cornerstones of manners that we are taught as kids. Yet LGBT elders don’t always automatically receive this same respect. Our LGBT elder trailblazers came out under fire, grew up when being gay was considered a mental-health disorder and survived everything from intense bullying to living closeted the majority of their lives to the AIDS crisis to police brutality — all so that they could be whom they are and love whom they love. In my opinion, they have more than earned our respect: They have earned our awe and admiration.

However, as our LGBT seniors age, they become a severely underrepresented demographic within the community — whom we name “Gen-Silent,” reflecting their tendency to be forced into the closet again later in life and their inability to fight discrimination on their own behalf. Thankfully, Philadelphia is showing its LGBT seniors respect and addressing one of their most crucial and immediate needs: housing.

Navigating real estate without rights

Home may be where the heart is, but having a roof over one’s head is one of the most basic of human needs. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes “housing” on its list of essentials that everyone should have access to, alongside food, medicine and social services. Federal law in the United States largely agrees. Title VIII of the Civil Rights act of 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act, states that “it shall be unlawful to refuse to sell or rent … or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.” Great! That means that no landlord or Realtor can ever discriminate against a person seeking a place to live based on who they are and what they look like … right? But what about LGBT people? Could a landlord or Realtor discriminate against a potential tenant or buyer based on his or her sexual orientation? What about based on gender identity? The answer in more than half of America — including in most of Pennsylvania — is, unfortunately, yes. This is a real problem.